Ulavi, Chenna Basavanna

Ulavi (Kannada ಉಳವಿ)is a town about 75 km from Karwar (via Kumbarawada) in Karnataka state, India.

Ulavi is an important center of pilgrimage for people of the Lingayat faith. The Samadhi of Channabasavanna, one of the most revered saints of the Lingayat faith lies here. In the 12th century, Channabasavanna traveled from Kalyana to Ulavi before he died. Very close to this holy Samadhi is the Akka Nagalambike cave named after Nagalambike, Channabasavanna's mother and Basavanna's sister. The Ulavi jathre or congregations attracts pilgrims from all over Karnataka.

Basavanna, not only established a new religion, or faith, called as Lingayat but also brought about sea-change in the social and cultural life of the people in the 12th century. The revolution started by him dispensed all sorts of blind faiths and discrimination based on birth and sex. He declared and practiced the principles of equality and social justice about 900 years ago, which are now enshrined in the constitution of India. Under his leadership, a new form of Kannada poetry was developed, which is called as Vachana literature. He established an institution called as “Anubhava Mantapa”, a religious parliament in which everyone participated in discussions and expressed his or her views on religion, god, social problems, economic problems, etc. This Anubhava Mantapa was the first parliament in the world based on democracy and free thinking.

As a result of such a revolution, he celebrated and blessed the marriage of a son of a cobbler (untouchable), Haralayya, and the daughter of a Brahmin Madhuvarsa, who was a minister in the cabinet of King Bijjala. This marriage was not tolerated by orthodox society. Ultimately, Basavanna had to leave Kalyana for Kudalsangama. After his departure from Kalyana, King Bijjala ordered death punishment on the newly-married couple and their parent. The orthodox people attacked Sharanas had and the Vachana literature, which even today is a treasure of wisdom. Then, Sharanas had to leave Kalyana in different directions forming themselves into different groups to protect and preserve the Vachana literature written on palm leaves.

One such group reached the Ulive under the leadership of Channabasavanna. During that period Ulive was in the territory of Kadamba rulers of Goa, who were rivals of the Chalukya’s. It was a safe place from many angles. Channabasavanna, who was the son of younger sister of Basavanna, was a great scholar and mystic poet. At Ulive, the Sharanas, once again, established Anubhava Mantapa on a smaller scale. Channabasavanna attained Samadhi, at this place. The Samadhi called as the Temple of Channabasavanna, can be seen even today.

There are hill ranges of Precambrian formations mainly composed of crystalline limestone around this place. There are several caves with stalactites and stalagmites. Sharanas lived in these caves, which are described by king Sadashiva of Sode dynasty, who ruled this part of the country during the 16th century A.D.

It is a thrilling and strenuous experience to visit these caves, which are even today in thick forest. It is a foot track covering a distance of about 10 km in an undulating country with sharp ups and downs. Sometimes the ground slopes with 45 degree to 50 degree down hill. A total of 300 meter is the elevation difference from the temple to the lowest point in the valleys.

Ulavi is located at western ghatts. Thick forests here tiger, chita, elephent, sarang, cobra, lots of wild animals are present.

Nearest places: Dandali, Dharwad, Hubli.

Transport: Better to travel in one's own vehicle. Three daily buses traveling via Dharwad from Hubli, Chitradurga, Haveri and Belgum.

Other atractive placess: cintherei Rock, Kali River, Anashi Reserve Forest, Supa Dam.
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[1] From the book "Vachana", pub: Basava Samiti Bangalore 2012.